There’s only so much joy a blandly functional shared Outlook calendar can spark, hence the enduring popularity of quaint old printed wall-based ones. And no, they won’t prod you fifteen minutes before a hygienist appointment, but they can look great, make you laugh, or offer a bit of gentle titillation to liven up the working day.
Toiletpaper’s calendar manages to tick all three of those boxes. Crafted by Toiletpaper magazine’s founders Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, like the publication it delights in hyper-vivd colours, surreal scenarios, and a weirdly erotic stance that you’re not sure you should really find erotic at all.
That’s especially true of the 2023 edition, which is themed around the idea of ‘love’, according to publisher Damiani. Here, love plays out in a range of different ways: sometimes, the calendar models become emoji-like symbols — a huge pair of literally pillow-like, kiss-me-quick lips, for instance. There’s also the smeared lipstick traces of kisses-gone-by in the image for July, suggesting a tryst involving, er, a fleshy pink toilet bowl.
Other depictions of love are more straightforward: a handsome man stands holding a cat, with another draped around his shoulders — he’s covered in scratches, but grinning anyway, and what’s more redolent of unconditional love than that? September’s image, meanwhile, underscores love’s intensity: two brown eyes staring directly into one another, so close that the lashes tickle.
Forming an artwork in its own right, the calendar is described by publisher Damiani as delineating “a troubling imagination”, combining “the vernacular of commercial photography with twisted narrative tableaux”. As ever, Cattelan and Ferrari’s imagery is joyfully surreal: a playful and sexy antidote to the drudgery of daily life and the relentless onslaught of bad news.
As an offshoot of the biannual magazine, the Toiletpaper calendar has been an annual treat since 2013. The 2022 calendar was food-themed, with some of the imagery drawn from the pair’s collaborative book with photographer Martin Parr, cunningly named ToiletMartin PaperParr, released in 2021.
Toiletpaper Calendar 2023 is published by Damiani; damianieditore.com